A church in Texas and its members showed up to Austin Pride this weekend offering free ‘mom hugs’ for anyone who needed them.
Jen Hatmaker, a mother, blogger, and author, posted about the sweet display of love and acceptance on Instagram. She also has a podcast and has published eight books.
Her public support of the LGBTI community and marriage equality has led to consequences. In 2016, LifeWay Christian Stores, a Southern Baptist bookseller, discontinued selling her books.
Still, it hasn’t stopped Hatmaker from showing compassion.
Over the weekend, she posted photos of Austin Pride, along with an emotional caption about offering free hugs.
‘Our arms were never empty’
It’s clear both from the photos and Hatmaker’s caption that it was an emotional and positive experience.
‘My beloved little church went downtown to the #AustinPrideParade and gave out Free Mom Hugs, Free Dad Hugs, Free Grana Hugs, and Free Pastor Hugs like it was our paying jobs,’ she wrote.
She’s a member of Austin New Church.
‘And when I say hugs, I mean THE KIND A MAMA GIVES HER BELOVED KID.’
She detailed her experience with the day: ‘Our arms were never empty. We “happy hugged” a ton of folks, but dozens of times, I’d spot someone in the parade look our way, squint at our shirts and posters, and RACE into our arms.’
Hatmaker also posted what some Pride attendees told her and her group:
‘I miss this.’
‘My mom doesn’t love me anymore.’
‘My Dad hasn’t spoken to me in three years.’
‘Please just one more hug.’
‘We told them over and over that they were impossibly loved and needed and precious. And we hugged until our arms fell off. This is what we are doing here, what we are here for.’
Hatmaker said they were inspired by Sara Cunningham and the Free Mom Hugs organization. Cunningham recently made headlines when she offered to be anyone’s mother at their same-sex wedding.
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